A Lesson in a Bowl of Soup
It was a chilly December evening at Pensacola Christian College. I strolled up and down the lines at the Four Winds, weighing my options as if my choice would hold some lasting significance in my life. I kept gravitating back toward the soup bar and finally settled on a bowl of creamy tomato soup. I ladled with one hand and snatched three napkins and a spoon with the other hand in one sweeping gesture, balancing an apple on the lip of my bowl. Yeah, I was kind of the picture of efficiency. As I weaved in between other groups eating on my way to my table, a table of friends smiled and waved. I smiled and waved back. A girl I didn’t know complimented my shoes. A friend at the coffee machine asked if I was eating with anyone. I sweetly replied that I was, but we’d have to do lunch sometime, and how was her great-Aunt Matilda-who-had-the-hip-surgery doing anyway?
I crept around a heavily occupied six-seater—a tight squeeze. Suddenly, and before I could say “help” or “somebody give me a hand” or “nobody look!” or pretty much anything else, I stumbled and fell! My feet flew out from under me and my bowl flew out in front of me and my soup flew right into me and my spoon flew out behind me and my dignity flew away too, probably forever, and everyone’s eyes flew right in my general direction. Basically, there was a lot of flying going on. Not exactly my “peak of the week” sort of deal. Some kind soul I didn’t know helped me to collect my things and walk to the dish return. Well, she walked. I sort of crawled— a humiliated, tomato-y mess. But do you know something? I wouldn’t have had it go any other way on that chilly December evening.
It was embarrassing; it was unpleasant; it was humbling; it was…well…kind of funny now that I think about it. But I think that the Lord, in His mercy, has a gentle way of putting us in our place every once in a while. If you are His child, He will undoubtedly use you, but He will also bring you to a place where you are usable. In our weakness...in our failures and feelings of inadequacy, He then uses us because it is in those moments of weakness that His glory and His strength shine through clearest—not in the moments when we are stifling His presence with our egos. And that is the real beauty of following Christ, isn’t it? God is not looking for perfect people—He is looking for usable people. Now maybe you aren’t falling all over the place like I did. But wherever you are right now and whatever you’re dealing with, whether it be grades or future decisions or other circumstances, remember that we serve a God much bigger than circumstance Who, in the very moments where we feel only small and weak, is desiring to do mighty things in and through our lives.0